Many people present to their dentist or dental hygienist asking how they can make their teeth whiter. That’s because an improved smile is on most patients’ priority list when visiting the dentist. And bright, white teeth are a significant part of what makes a smile appealing.
Causes of discolouration
There are two main causes of dental discolouration. There are also ways to prevent discolouration and/or manage it.
1. Food and drink
Extrinsic tooth staining (staining on the outer surface of the tooth) can be caused by the consumption of highly pigmented foods and drinks such as black and green tea; coffee; and red wine.
To prevent and manage:
• Rinse your mouth with water after consumption of the above.
• Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate your body’s natural saliva flow, which will wash away some of the tannin stains.
• Use toothpaste containing small abrasive agents; these can remove some surface staining. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist which brand they would recommend.
• Reduce the plaque-forming bacteria in your mouth with daily flossing and twice-daily brushing.
• Have your teeth cleaned regularly by a dental professional. We recommend a clean and check-up every six months. At these appointments your dentist or dental hygienist can effectively remove any dental plaque/bacteria, calculus/hardened tartar and surface staining.
• If you present with heavy brown/black tooth staining you may need more than the simple polish included in a regular professional clean. We offer a systemcalled a prophyflex, which uses a high-pressure water jet along with calcium carbonate crystals to lift surface staining.
Age alone does not make our teeth yellow. But as we age, the layer of tooth under our enamel (outside layer) begins to show through more with thinning of the enamel. This part of the tooth is less white, and that’s why the teeth can appear discoloured.
Also, over time, gum recession may be more prevalent, exposing part of the tooth root, which is also more yellow than tooth enamel.
Neither of these processes can be prevented but they can certainly be managed.
• Use a soft or extra-soft toothbrush and be careful not to “scrub” the tooth surface when brushing. Harsh scrubbing can hasten thinning of tooth enamel. It’s important to brush using a gentle circular motion.
There are various ways to enhance tooth whiteness, including cosmetic dentistry and chemical whitening processes.
Porcelain veneers are thin porcelain caps cemented over your front teeth to achieve an aesthetically pleasing result. They are white and well shaped while at the same time being made to blend with the look of your natural teeth.
You might opt to have four, or six, teeth veneered, depending on your desired result. If you would like more information about porcelain veneers, please call our friendly and knowledgeable reception staff or make an appointment with one of our dentists.
There are many whitening options these days. Here at Smile Solutions we offer you several processesto choose from.
In choosing, we suggest you think about your reason for wanting to whiten your teeth. Do you have a special event coming up soon, for which you would like instant whitening, or do you want to whiten your teeth more gradually?
Our in-chair whitening systems achieve an instant result, whereas the take- home kits are something you work towards over about two weeks.
In summary, these are the options we offer at Smile Solutions:
- Zoom in-chair tooth whitening
- Brite Smile in-chair tooth whitening (our premium whitening, also good for people who experience sensitivity)
- Zoom take-home day whitening gel worn in custom-made trays
- Zoom take-home night whitening gel worn in custom-made trays.
Keep in mind that if you have fillings in your front teeth these will not change in colour. You can discuss with your dentist or dental hygienist theoptions available in this case.
After any whitening process it is most important to follow the post-operative recommendations to avoid relapse in colour. If you are a smoker, we urge you to avoid smoking for at least 24 hours. We also recommend that all patients avoid pigmented foods and drinks for at least 24 hours post whitening. Anything that can stain your white clothing can stain your whitened teeth!
Many patients ask about the side-effects of tooth whitening. The most common and only real side effect is increased sensitivity. Speak to your dentist or dental hygienist performing your whitening or making your custom whitening trays about ways to manage or prevent sensitivity.
If you’d like to know about pricing feel free to call and ask one of our receptionists on 9650 4920 or ask your dentist or dental hygienist at your next appointment.